Georgina and her passion for plants
Georgina Koomson is the amazing lady responsible for the fair trade production of
the organic Shea Butter from North Ghana, used in Green People cosmetics. Her passion
for plants and strong sense of responsibility towards the people in her country
have led her to unlock the power of this natural resource in order to change the
lives of the people involved in its production.
Georgina’s background is in agricultural development and despite her family’s expectations
that she would follow a more conventional career route, her obsession with plants,
agriculture and their potential would not subside. Georgina conducted her national
service at the age of 17, (something that is compulsory for everyone in the Republic
of Ghana), and was fortunate enough to work with some agricultural experts from
Germany who were able to point her in the right direction. And that’s really when
it all started!
Georgina has a natural curiosity for plants, what they are able to offer the human
race, and the organic and sustainable way in which they can be cultivated. She embraces
the wonderful solutions which nature offers us and how we can use this to enrich
our own lives and the lives of those around us.
“I am often frustrated by the lack of vision from others in Ghana,” Georgina explains.
“We import a lot of goods for our daily lives and the country seems to dismiss the
obvious opportunities that are in abundance to boost our livelihoods and economic
independence. This is a large country with a hard-working population. We have a
great sunny climate, and very wet rainy season, perfect conditions for growing very
desirable crops on a vast landscape that is ripe for agriculture. The arable land
not used in Ghana seems nearly unlimited!
“I therefore spend a lot of time experimenting with new crops and opportunities
and it was a growing interest in how plants are useful from a beauty point of view
that I started to examine the potential of Shea butter. I could also see the untapped
opportunities for the many poor, village communities which independently work in
various aspects of agriculture.”
In 2003 Georgina was fortunate enough to meet the ‘Assembly Man’ from a village
in North Ghana which relied on harvesting Shea nuts for its main source of income.
It is the Assembly Man’s role to organise the people in his village. He was able
to share Georgina’s insight and vision and could appreciate how by officially gaining
organic status for the Shea nuts and pooling all the villages together to become
a working co-operative that this would present a sound business proposition. Seven
years later the people of these villages are genuinely reaping the rewards, which
provide a fair income for over 200 families in this region.
Georgina concludes, “I am lucky to be able to indulge my passion for plants, and
investigating their full potential, underlining this with a truly holistic approach
to business. Plants have given us the opportunity to enhance the quality of people’s
lives, creating infrastructure for their communities and financial independence,
as well as looking after the environment, one precious commodity that we really
can’t do without!” In September 2006, Georgina was awarded the ‘Spirit of Organic’
Award, by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, Bonn, Germany,
in recognition of being the most progressive organic-producing co-operative having
overcome huge odds. Georgina was the first woman and the first African to ever receive
this international award. Congratulations Georgina!